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Department of Social Work receives candidacy
status, admits first advanced standing MSW students
June 25, 2009 --
University’s Department of Social Work, in the College of Nursing and
Health Professions, welcomed its first 26 advanced standing students
into the Master of Social Work (MSW) program, Tuesday, June 2. In
addition, the MSW program has been placed in candidacy for accreditation
by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Regarding the accreditation of the program, there are three steps in the
CSWE accreditation process: pre-candidacy, candidacy, and initial
accreditation. The initial accreditation process requires that certain
documentation is prepared and provided to CSWE and that two site visits
are arranged for a CSWE commissioner to review the program’s eligibility
Pre-candidacy involves discussion of a new program by the host
institution, as well as initial planning, acquisition of resources, and
the hiring of the required number of faculty.
The first step toward initial accreditation is candidacy. In order to
be placed in candidacy, a program has to provide a self-study document
containing specific standards, and a CSWE site visitor meets with the
university administration and social work department to review the
program’s standards. The second site visitor is sent after the program
is in candidacy and reviews another set of standards to determine
whether or not the program meets the requirements for initial
The commissioner who visits the university makes a recommendation to
CSWE regarding readiness for candidacy. A site visitor spent time at
Arkansas State last November and recommended that the MSW Program be
placed in candidacy. Recently, the commissioners met and officially
placed the program in candidacy status.
“We anticipate that initial accreditation will be granted to the ASU
MSW program sometime during 2010,” said Dr. Turnage.
The MSW program consists of two tracks: regular standing and advanced
standing. In fall 2008, the program admitted its first group of regular
standing part-time students. Students admitted to the part-time advanced
standing program have bachelor’s degrees in social work. The advanced
standing students attended an orientation session for the program and
attended their first class of the summer 2009 term.
The new MSW Program offers students a concentration in rural-based
clinical practice. During the summer, students study psychosocial
pathology for social workers.
Dr. Barbara Turnage, chair, addressed the students, “You have begun a
challenging journey that will greatly enhance your career.” Turnage
noted that the advanced standing students are required to complete 33
credits to obtain the MSW degree.
“The start of the MSW program is the end of many years of advocacy by
northeast Arkansas social service agencies and students for a master’s
degree in social work offered by Arkansas State University,” said Dr.
George Jacinto, director of the MSW program. “This year the program has
admitted a part-time class. In summer of 2010, both part-time and
full-time advanced standing study options will be available to
Dr. Jacinto noted that in the fall semester of 2009, regular standing
students can enroll in the MSW program in both full-time and part-time
tracks. Regular standing students must complete 63 credits to obtain
the Master of Social Work degree. He also noted the reason that regular
standing students have to complete more credits is that the advanced
standing students, those with Bachelor of Social Work degrees, have
completed the 30 credits of foundation courses as part of their BSW
The program plans to graduate its first students in May of 2011.